Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do you think it's a worm?

Do you ever find yourself dwelling on the possibility that a parasite may have invaded your skin, infiltrated your organs and is now just waiting to strike and take you DOWN?

Do you look at your pets and see not a furry friend but a possible carrier of disease and death?

Do you have a new found terror that scary things are living in the soil just waiting to take you on as their host?



Well, good for you because apparently you haven't watched this:

(Sidebar: More evidence my cat is plotting to kill me? You decide.)

Yes, I recently stumbled upon "Monsters Inside Me" on the Animal Planet. Now, I know I shouldn't be watching this stuff (see previous post references to the ban on all animal programming in our house), but like a rubbernecker, I sometimes just can't help myself, and before I know it, I'm sucked in, completely grossed out and my skin is starting to crawl. Look, I know I should change the channel. But...I...can't. I'm too afraid. I have to watch because what if I miss something that could save my life? (Yes, really, I know I have issues).

And now I'm paying the price for my lack of judgment with a new sense of hypochondriacal paranoia about parasites. Case in point: I stepped on something sharp last night while outside playing fetch with the dog, and I can't help but obsess over whether an evil microbe was waiting in the dirt and has now invaded my body. This morning when I felt the stabbing pain of an eyelash in my eye, there was actually a moment when I panicked that it might be one of those nasty things that crawl across your retina. BwaarAHGH! (No, that's not a scientific parasite name - it's actually the sound of every cell in my body twitching in revulsion). I mean, people DIE from this stuff!

So for now I see two options (in addition to possible therapy now that I know the strongyloides exists):

1. Either the networks QUIT IT already with all of this scare tactic programming (from Shark Week to the Apocalypse scenarios of "It Could Happen Tomorrow" to "Monsters Inside Me," they're making an already fear-prone society even more wacked). Or

2. I summon a little willpower and stop watching this crap.

But let's face it, neither of these scenarios is likely to ever happen, so we're left with a third, more feasible option:

3. Dave gets fed up with my inability to change the channel (and subsequent night terrors) and has the Animal Planet blocked from our cable package.

Something tells me I'll be missing a station come tomorrow night.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Birthday Block

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Birthdays have always been my nemeses. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate them for marking yet another year. I (so far) have had no problems with getting older and in fact quite enjoy celebrating my "receiving day," as I've heard it best described. Further, I truly love congratulating others on adding one more year of wisdom and memories to their repertoire. It brings me great joy to do so. It's just that I'm chronically birthday-challenged. As in, I'm terrible about remembering birthdays. Pathetically so.

(I should note that in other areas, I'm a fully functioning, responsible adult, which is what makes this whole thing that much more baffling...and frustrating.)

To be fair, I do usually remember that someone's birthday is coming up a few weeks in advance. I think to myself, "Kels, it's time to buy a card that perfectly captures your love and affection for said friend or family member."

And often this works well for me, but things tend to fall apart after that. Once the day grows near, that birthday flies out of my brain faster than my dog chasing a bunny in an open field. One minute I'm on top of things, proudly buying, addressing AND stamping that card, and the next, it's like the birthday never existed. Poof! Black hole of birthday-ness. (The worst was the year I remembered to call only one of the two dear friends who share a birthday. How does that happen??? I could blame it on the fact that I was in college and probably didn't get much sleep the night before, but to be honest it's more likely the work of what I've come to think of as my "birthday block".)

Faced with the embarrassment of ongoing failure on the birthday front, the only logical solution to stay in touch with all those to whom I really WANT to send cards and birthday well wishes was to create a series of electronic reminders. I thought I'd hit the jackpot when I discovered "" a few years ago. Simply enter in the dates of your chosen and it will send you friendly reminders several times before the hallowed day. It couldn't be easier or more efficient! The messages arrived something like this:

Birthday Reminder
"Dave's birthday is in 14 days! You should buy a card."

Then, "Dave's birthday is in 2 days! You'd better hope you sent that card. If not, it's priority mail for you, sister!"

And then finally, "Dave's birthday is tomorrow! Did you mail the card? Are you sure? Don't forget to call him, you idiot!"

Okay, so perhaps the italicized portions of the quotes are a stretch, but you get the gist of my internal struggle with each of these steps. Without help, it is sadly only too likely that one or more will be omitted in the process.

I was so in love with the cheerful and helpful reminder service that it became my lifeline. It worked smashingly for quite some time. I was a responsible correspondent when it came to birthdays. Cards were purchased to portray the appropriate sentiment. They were mailed ON TIME! Phone calls were made to express love and thoughtfulness. And then, recently, it all came to a screeching halt. Those helpful reminders that used to empower me have become completely useless. They now arrive looking like this:

Birthday Reminder
" 's birthday is in 7 days!"

Wait, what? WHOSE birthday is in 7 days? Who is " 's"? And now instead of faithfully executing the appropriate birthday preparation steps, I'm scrambling trying to figure out whose birthday it is that I'm now in grave danger of missing.

For what it's worth, I'm also pretty convinced that I'm being taunted by a techie somewhere who deleted all the names in my account and is rubbing his hands together in glee at my confusion. "He" also still adds the chipper salutation at the end reminding me to have a "great day!" Well, it's kind of hard to have a great day when you're taunting me, I think it's time for us to break up. Unless of course all this time you've been trying to passively aggressively break up with me?

"Kelly, it's not you, it's me. It's just too much work holding your hand to make sure you remember these birthdays. First you need advance warning, and then I have to get on you about buying a card, and THEN, you might forget to mail it...and don't even get me started on nagging you to call the day of the event. What do you think I am, your WIFE?!."

So now I can add another layer of degradation to my struggle. Even the birthday service didn't want me anymore. Score another round for the birthday block: I am humiliated again.

P.S. For those of you whose birthdays I have recently forgotten, you now know it's because you went from being [Insert your name here] to [ 's ], and for that I'm sorry. I am working on another - and hopefully better - system as we speak!

Monday, January 4, 2010

That’s one expensive “free” dog!

This particular phrase has been making the rounds in recent weeks, as my husband and I have crystallized our friends and family into two camps: “Those who would,” and “Those who wouldn't,” creating an interesting dialogue among the “You’d-be-crazy-to’s” vs. the “You’d-be-heartless-not-to’s.”

All of this debate refers to expending something as inconsequential as mere dollars to save something as monumentally important as a life, moreover, a life of unselfish, unyielding devotion, laughter, snuggles and joy.

I am of course referring to the debate over whether or not we would get doggy chemo for our beloved Ru Dog, who was recently diagnosed with skin cancer. And yes, I am admittedly biased in my assessment in naming the two sides of this debate, but hey, it’s my blog, so I’m allowed to take some liberty. Certainly it’s no shock to anyone who knows me that I’d vote for saving the dog: I am "that girl" who cries at ASPCA commercials, who’s not “allowed” to watch Animal Cops because a mere five minutes of viewing results in either wracking sobs or violent epithets that the perpetrators must be castrated in ways exponentially more cruel than the evil they inflicted.

So I’m sure it’s no shock that I am the undisputed captain of “Team Save Ru Dog.” As soon as the vet told us that doggy chemo does not dish out the same side effects as it does to humans and that Ru’s quality of life would be maintained, I was pretty well convinced. And when he said that treatment would likely buy her a few more years, I figured the deal was done. I paid no attention to such inconsequential details as the price tag or time commitment. What did that matter?

Which is why I was so surprised when Dave and I walked out to the lobby together and shared our opinions about next steps, each assuming the other was of the same mind:

Me: “Well of COURSE, we’re definitely getting chemo. Definitely.”

Him: “Clearly we should just go with the steroids and see what happens.”

In Unison: “What???”

I was appalled. Dave was definitely not joining “Team Save Ru Dog” with me…but worse, in voting for steroids-only, he was leading “Team Cheap Ass”! Was this really the man I married?

OK, I’m exaggerating just a leetle bit…and I don’t want to be unfair to my darling hubby, who admittedly is the kindest man I know and often carries the flag of honor in my one-woman crazy parade. He loves our dog, and he loves me. He’s just a little too practical to see the sense in paying for cancer treatment for a dog (who’s already had two knees replaced, in his defense). In his mind, a dog is a dog, beloved…but a pet nonetheless. In my mind, a dog, particularly one who brings us so much joy and whose soul speaks through her eyes – ahem – is a member of the family. And God help the man who tries to get in my way to save her.

Yes, I realize that marriage is supposed to be about compromise and taking each other’s opinions and feelings into account, and I usually strive for that approach. But in this instance, I failed miserably. I said to my other half, “Honey, I love you, but this train is leaving the station and, crazy as it may be, I sure hope you’ll jump on, or at the very least get the *bleep* off the tracks.” Fortunately for me, my dear partner in life did the mature thing and admitted that while he didn’t necessarily agree, he loved me enough to suck it up and move forward with the treatment.

So it is with cautious optimism, love and gratitude that I look forward to a new year: Hope that our beloved pooch heals, adoration for a husband who loves me enough to overlook the dollar signs, and sincere thanks for the well wishes and support of our friends and family.

But, Dad? Could you please just do me a favor and quit telling Dave that Rudy “sure is one expensive ‘free’ dog!”? I mean, really, can we talk about soooo NOT HELPING???